Beware hyping up the race card

23rd February 2007 at 00:00
Stuart Waiton is director of

The Sun newspaper's front page on the bizarre Jade-Shilpa episode last month was perhaps the most ironic article I have seen on this whole race debate, if you can call it that.

For those of you who missed it, there were pictures of 11 children holding up signs with insults on them ranging from Paki to Chinky, right, the super Sun anti-racist message being that they all have something in common - they are "all British".

That today we can fly the flag and be jingoistic about anti-racism rather than racism is ironic enough. But another of the children holding a sign was a white kid with the insult "chav scum" written on it. And, of course, let's face it, the reason Jade was witch-hunted into a rehab clinic was because she was thought to be, well, chav scum.

The new prejudice about the scum of the earth is not about blacks in the inner-cities, but the "uneducated" white working class - like Jade - who haven't been to a political correctness finishing school and can be spat upon from a great height for not using the correct language. (In case any of you out there are not quite up to speed on these things, it's minority ethnic now rather than ethnic minority).

Since the 77 London bombings, we have been informed, most fervently by the liberal press, that there would be and indeed is a serious problem of Islamophobia. The racist white mob are on the rise, it seems. And yet the Crown Prosecution Service reported that in the year after the bombings, there were fewer religiously aggravated crimes against Muslims than in the previous year.

In fact, coming back to the Sun front page, the interesting thing about race stories in the press today is that these tales of "this monster from the dark (that) still lingers and lurks in 2007", as the Sun put it, are increasingly not about adult racists, "Paki bashing", or white race riots.

Rather, as the Sun indicated, they are about children calling each other names.

Racist bullying, like any other serious bullying, is something that teachers should, and no doubt do try and prevent, and rightly so. But let us not assume that because children are sometimes horrible to one another, this indicates that they, and their parents, are racist monsters lurking in the dark.

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